Friday, September 12, 2014

Killashandra by Anne McCaffrey

Killashandra is the second book in the crystal singer trilogy so this review contains ***SPOILERS*** if you have not read the first book in the series.  This series is best enjoyed in order so I suggest you read The crystal singer before you read any more of this review.

In a very short time Killshandra has risen in the ranks of the crystal singers, becoming one of the best and brightest, gifted with an affinity with the rare and valuable black crystal.  Her knack of finding the crystals has given her a good life, with enough credit to get off world fairly regularly, but this time she is forced to face the fact that she has not cut enough crystal to get far enough from the crystal that she both craves and loathes.  That changes when she learns that by some stroke of luck she has cut the perfect crystal, enough white crystal to fill the desperate order for an Optherian organ that was destroyed. 

The trip will take her far away from Ballybran and will give her time to get the crystal resonance out of her blood and bones, but it will also take her away from the Guild Master.  At first she tries to manoeuvre for the job, but then discovers that she is being manipulated into taking the job so the Guild Master can be forced out into the Ranges himself.  More than a little bitter about being forced to make yet another quick and quiet exit, Killashandra sets out to enjoy herself - even under the double burden of replacing the crystals in the organ and discovering if the Optherians really do enjoy their life so much that they never want to leave their planet. 

A rather uneventful journey brings her to a planet that seems to be as idyllic as promised in the brochures, a world where the founding fathers decreed that they must work with nature rather than against it, a world where building and roads are built around nature.  It is a strange world, made all the more bizarre when she is physically attacked before she can even begin her work - and then she is kidnapped and dumped on a deserted island in the middle of a tropical sea.  Not content to rest on her laurels Killashandra turns her considerable determination to freeing herself from her involuntary isolation - and that leads to one of the most amazing and unsettling discoveries of all.

Killashandra is the second book in the crystal singer trilogy and picks up fairly quickly from where The crystal singer left off.  Killashandra is now an established crystal singer in her own right, but she is still growing into her role and is not above some underhanded tactics to get what she wants - and we soon discover that she is not the only one.  Having whetted my appetite with The crystal singer I was only too happy to jump straight into the action, drama, and romance of Killashandra.  As with most of the Anne McCaffrey novels there is amazing world building in this series, and Optheria comes alive in a sea of colours, scents, personalities, and conspiracies. 

With depth of characters, and a niggling little mystery, not to mention some laugh out loud moments, Killashandra is a satisfying read and diversion.  This is not the first time I have read the book (or the second, or the third) but it was a refreshing read and my memories of the plot and twists did not distract from the story.  After demolishing the first novel in just over a day, I then went on to demolish Killashandra in two days (it is after all a slightly longer novel).  There were hints at one time that these books would be made into a series of movies, and there is a lot to like here for a movie plot - action, drama, angst, romance, conspiracies, villains, and eye candy.  A fine addition to the crystal singer mythology.

If you like this book then try:
  • The crystal singer by Anne McCaffrey
  • Crystal line by Anne McCaffrey
  • Powers that be by Anne McCaffrey
  • The ship who sang by Anne McCaffrey
  • The Rowan by Anne McCaffrey
  • Decision at Doona by Anne McCaffrey
  • Werehunter by Mercedes Lackey
  • The elvenbane by Andre Norton and Mercedes Lackey
  • Arrows of the Queen by Mercedes Lackey
  • Alien taste by Wen Spencer
  • The diamond throne by David Eddings
  • Sassinak by Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Moon

Reviewed by Brilla

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